Here are my rough (very rough, completely unedited) notes from the Bill Gates/Jim Allchin keynotes today at PDC 05. They aren’t intended to be my final thoughts on the topic, I’m just getting what they said down on paper. This ISN'T verbatim, it's just what I wrote down.


Bill Gates

  1. Over time, new platforms develop. As an example, 1985 was the first year you could assume MS-DOS on the desktop. We’re in a time of transition now, with the migration to 64-bit, the introduction of Tablet, and the growth in broadband and WiFi. People are embracing a “digital lifestyle” that goes well beyond music. Collaboration is going well beyond e-mail. Ink input is becoming mainstream.
  2. The building block will be service-oriented architecture. It’s an important foundation for our industry. In 2000, when Win32 dominated the industry, we said that the new applications needed a new foundation and announced .NET. It’s now the platform that people use the most. XML is at the heart of all of this, and will be the basis of all data interchange. XML is built into the core of every product in the Microsoft platform.
  3. Platform investment is at record levels. On the server side, we’re giving symmetry between services we run and services that others run, and bundling additional functions into the server SKUs.
  4. On the client side, we’re raising the user experience bar and advancing the PC platform. RSS and rich media are driving. We’re improving the presentation experience in HTML and on the desktop. At the HTML level, raising the bar with Atlas which will be covered at PDC. On the desktop, it’s Avalon, which is renamed Windows Presentation Foundation.
  5. SLIDE: Windows Vista. Confident, Clear, and Connected. Confident for users to have a safe experience. Clear user experiences.
  6. SLIDE: Announcing Office 12. New results-oriented user interface. Developer opportunities for open XML file formats and extensible user interface.
  7. DEMO: Windows Vista features for Clarity. Preview of a window in the task bar. Alt+TAB with a 3D view of running windows. Desktop Quick Search. Browsing documents using thumbnails of documents. Documents virtual folder shows all documents on PC, regardless of where they are on disk. Virtual folders defined in XML, easy for developers to build. Can organize documents with keywords, can paint documents with metadata.
  8. DEMO: Windows Vista Sidebar. Source for real-time data. Developers can create using either dHTML or Avalon.
  9. DEMO: Windows Vista Side Show. Little screen on the bottom of a laptop to show information without booting the PC.
  10. DEMO: Windows Vista features for Confidence. Parental Controls on games. Games Explorer feature.
  11. DEMO: Windows Vista anti-phishing. Security report in IE. Colors address bar to show that a site is suspicious. Dynamic protection service tracks known bad sites, and blocks them. (This feature requires opt-in, and you can ignore it if you want your identity stolen.)
  12. DEMO: IE7 Tabbed browsing. Quick Tabs shows all open tabs in little thumbnail screens. Reformat content for printing automatically without clipping wide content.
  13. DEMO: IE7 RSS. Auto discovers RSS feeds on a page and presents them cleanly. Windows Vista provides a platform around RSS. We believe RSS will be a future platform for business applications, publishing information to customers and employees.
  14. DEMO: CRM RSS. Microsoft CRM providing an RSS feed of all quotes provided to customers, don’t need to run reports.
  15. DEMO: Excel 12. First public demo of Office 12. Word 1.0 had 100 commands. Word 2003 has 1500 commands and 35 toolbars. People can’t find features they need. When we ask people what they want in Office, they describe features that already exist, they just don’t know about them. Fixed in Office 12 by tabbing between different command bars. Windows Vista File Open dialog box shows thumbnails. Data bar within cells is a way to graphically show data WITHIN a cell, bar lines, Red/Yellow/Green and other visualizations. Galleries allow selection of commands and allow you to see what effect commands will have.
  16. DEMO: OSI Software add-in for Excel. They have an Office 12 prototype, adding tabs and galleries into the user interface. Uses visualization tools to show environmental data.
  17. DEMO: Word 12. Hover over a font, and it previews the document in that font. Uses galleries to insert things like text boxes. Tools for document management like working with SharePoint, scrubbing comments, and adding digital signatures.
  18. DEMO: PPT 12. Auto build graphics from text on a slide. Add effects using galleries.
  19. DEMO: SharePoint V.Next. Deep integration with Office. For example, store a repository of PPT slides, and have your deck auto-updated when the slide updates in WSS.
  20. DEMO: Outlook 12. Adds the concept of time and dates for tasks, can be used for time management. Attachments in e-mail can be previewed without opening a new window. Outlook can act as reader for RSS feeds you subscribed to in IE7. Allows caching so you can read it on an airplane. Windows Vista Quick Search built in so you can search across everything in Outlook, including subscribed RSS feeds.
  21. DEMO: Outlook 12. Subscribe to a SharePoint site. It’s a little like caching your e-mail from Exchange, so you can read it when your offline.
  22. Bill: Take away from Office 12 demo is richer user interface. Office 12 and Vista will ship at the same time in second half of 2006.
  23. In mid-90s, Office came together in a single unified system. With Windows Server System, we will unite the server side so that an organization can have a consistent view of, as an example, what an expense report is.

Jim Allchin

  1. Showed Windows 1.0, to show how far we’ve come. This is the 20th anniversary of Windows. Massive opportunities for the platform: mobile devices, laptops, media center, etc.
  2. PDC is all about transparency. Today PDC attendees get an interim build of Windows Vista between beta 1 and beta 2. Confident that product will ship by late 2006. Confident because we have re-engineered the Windows development process.
  3. Hardware abundance of modern PCs, amazing variety of form factors. P2P model is important for things like photos. Subscription, like RSS, is replacing search as the metaphor.
  4. Pillars of Windows Vista are presentation, data, and communications. Focus on getting the basis right as well: security and privacy, performance, reliability, and deployment and servicing.
  5. DEMO: Windows Vista “Super Fetch” is a performance improvement by optimizing the way the system manages memory and loads applications. Tracks typical load on a system to optimize application load times.
  6. DEMO: Windows Vista. Plug in a USB memory stick. It’s used as memory on the machine.
  7. DEMO: Run processes in low privilege mode to protect machine, e.g. IE7. Go to evil web site, can’t attack system because low privilege. Not just for IE, can be used to protect any application.
  8. SLIDE: Introducing “Atlas.” Demand for richer experiences on the Internet. Atlas is web client framework for Ajax, runs on any dHTML browser, deeply integrated with Asp.NET 2.0.
  9. SLIDE: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Best way to deliver superior user experiences, sets new bar for a modern client platform. (It’s the official name for what used to be called Avalon.)
  10. SLIDE: Introducing “WPF/E.” Strict subset of WPF for devices, using JavaScript to access WPF.
  11. DEMO: Vista prototype application for NetFlix. Runs on PC, media center, tablet using WPF, or cell phone using WPF/E. Animation, flying thumbnails. Preview video within application. This demo looks really good. Moving movies in queue using 3d animation. Move to tablet, drag stuff around using stylus. Move to media center, application works through remote control. Input device change handled by WPF. Again, show preview within application. Switch to mobile device, view application again. Application built in one month using three developers and one graphic designer.
  12. There’s a special deal on the device they used for demo available to PDC attendees.
  13. Data challenges, need access to multiple stores. WinFS is powerful, but not enough by itself. Uniform programming interface, LINQ. Integrated search experience. Rich RSS platform for subscription in Windows Vista, integrates with search.
  14. Communications pillar. Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). Change since last PDC it’s now protocol agnostic, supports REST/FOX and MSMQ as well as WS-*.
  15. Introducing “Windows InfoCards.” Abstraction layer on top of identity management providers. Has UI that allows end users to figure out what identity they are using.
  16. DEMO: "People Near Me" collaboration experience in Windows Vista. Communicate peer 2 peer and set up a collaboration session to share a PPT deck. Send deck through session so it can be edited on the other desktop. Developers should take advantage of this to build P2P solutions.
  17. DEMO: Don Box/Anders Hejlsberg/Scott Guthrie. Don Box: “Ants in my pants and I need to code.” This was a 40 minute demo in four phases.
    1. Phase One, Anders Hejlsberg presenting. Use LINQ to query the system for running processes, display a list of running processes and working set size. (LINQ is “Language Integrated Query” It’s a set of language extensions in .NET 3.0 that add allow you to generate queries against a variety of data stores. You don’t need to write some other query language, everything is done in C# or VB.) Add a DLINQ query to pull descriptions of some processes from SQL Server. (DLINQ is LINQ for database access.) Use LINQ to join the two queries. Convert data to XML using LINQ.
    2. Phase Two, Don Box presenting. Use WCF to create a simple service that exposes the process data from previous phase. Modify service to accept a regular expression parameter and return process names that correspond with the regular expression.
    3. Phase Three, Scott Guthrie presenting. Use Atlas to create interactive experience that calls the web service. Atlas generates JavaScript, so it can call across to the web service directly from the client without going via the web server. Integrate with Virtual Earth to display map of LA Convention Center where server is running.
    4. Phase Four. Fancy front end in WPF for web service.
  1. DEMO: Max is a proof of concept that uses WCF and WPF to create photo albums that can be shared across the net. Cool use of graphics. You can get it now as a sample at
  2. DEMO: North Face is a real customer that has very specific branding requirements. Creating prototype catalog in Avalon. Some very cool 3d graphics and integration of motion video and controls. You can see video of an expedition using the product, click on a product to get product details, and see 3d diagrams of product features, all while panels with the motion video move around in 3d.
  3. Jim Allchin: Calls to action for developers. Talked about opportunity size. Analysts expect sales of 475 million PCs in two years after Vista launches. That’s almost half a billion. Plus 200 million upgrades. Expects fastest ever take up of a new OS version.
  4. DEMO: Developer Locker, system to sell software over the web. Tracks what you’ve bought so you can download it again later.

 Things that blew me away:

    • This session had tons of cool demos. There’s no way to capture in text how good the WPF applications looked. Vista + WPF is going to change expectations about what an application can be. The Avalon stuff will raise the bar for business systems developers. Windows Vista by itself looks beautiful.
    • Office 12. It’s the first time in a while I’ve seen a new version of Office where I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I think it will be a breakthrough in usability. People who have looked at other versions of Office and had a ho-hum reaction will be impressed by this. When Office 2003 launched, I said that Word and Excel hadn’t changed much from a UI standpoint, and that word processing and spreadsheeting were solved problems where we didn’t need to change the solutions much. I was dead wrong. The new UI is a leap forward. The visualization features in Excel are going to be a must-have for business users and analysts. The gallery features in Word will help people do special effects that are too hard to figure out in Word today. I might even be able to create graphical slides for my future presentations by using the new PowerPoint.
    • LINQ. We’ve been playing with ORM (Object Relational Mapping) technology for years. Eventually, ObjectSpaces may even ship. The problem with classic ORM solutions like EJB’s implementation is that they give sucky performance. That’s why a lot of Java developers avoid beans that preserve state. On the other hand, I want to code my apps in my development language, and that’s not SQL. Maybe LINQ will give us a chance to deliver the advantages of ORM without the downside. It’s certainly a powerful tool for manipulating data within your apps.
    • I expect Windows Vista to really deliver on security and reliability. I like that we will evangelize to consumers that they shouldn’t run as admins all the time. It’s about time.
    • Everyone on stage really groks RSS deeply. It’s time for RSS to go mainstream.